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29th Nov 2022
Afia Azmi

Best MS Schools for Immunology and Microbiology

Best MS schools in Microbiology and Immunology: eligibility, curriculum, research areas and top schools in the US and Canada with their USPs.

What is Immunology and Microbiology?

The Microbiology and Immunology program involves immune cells, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.

Students can investigate the ecology, evolution and environments of micro-organisms, the diseases they cause, the microbiome and its influence on the immune system and our health, immunity and disease.

Students seek solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance; designing new, combination drug therapies; using microbial engineering in industrial processing and environmental remediation; determine how our immune system can best protect us against infection and cancer; use this information to design new immunotherapies and treatments for inflammation and auto-immune diseases.

The projects span population and systems biology and ecology, organism behaviour and function, cell interactions and molecular mechanisms. Degrees in these programs accelerate students in various careers in industry, academia, not-for-profit organisations and the business world.

What is an MS in Immunology?

The Master of Science in Immunology program provides training in various aspects of research related specifically to basic, translational and clinical research in the fields of immunology and inflammatory disease; in particular, the program focuses on research and development relevant to new immunodiagnostics, immunotherapeutics, and vaccines to prevent and/or treat infectious diseases such HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, influenza, malaria and many other viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal pathogens.

For acceptance into the Master of Science in Immunology program -

  • the applicant must have completed a four-year biology or chemistry-based BA or BS degree program with undergraduate coursework in biology, microbiology, immunology, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, and/or other related subjects.
  • Although a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is strongly desired, an applicant with a lower cumulative GPA will be considered if other strengths are apparent in the application.

At many schools, although GRE test score is not required for admission, official copies of scores may be considered if submitted as part of the application. Also, you need to submit TOEFL or IELTS score.

Acceptance into the program is decided by considering the sum of the applicant’s undergraduate curriculum, cumulative GPA, GRE, recommendation letters, and relevant research and professional experience.

What is curriculum of Immunology?

Required Courses

Immunology, Immunopathology and Infectious Diseases – Explores basic knowledge of immunity from the organism to the cellular level, with a focus on how the immune system elicits protection against invasion by pathogenic organisms, and how these same responses may be damaging to the host. 3.0 Credits

Molecular Medicine I

The first of a three-part course series, which provides a foundation in essential topics in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and genetics. Focuses on macromolecules (i.e., proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides and membranes) and their microenvironment within the eukaryotic cell. It is recommended that students also enroll in MIIM 534S Molecular Medicine Journal Club I for practical application of concepts learned in the analysis and interpretation of original scientific research and data. 3.0 Credits

Fundamentals of Molecular Medicine II

The second of a three-part course series, which provides a foundation in essential topics in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and genetics. Focuses on processes that control eukaryotic cell growth and function, with emphasis on biochemical pathways and regulatory mechanisms, cell cycle, and cellular communication mechanisms. It is recommended that students also enroll in MIIM 533S Molecular Medicine Journal Club II for practical application of concepts learned in the analysis and interpretation of original scientific research and data. 2.0 Credits

Fundamentals of Molecular Medicine III

The last of a three-part course series, which provides a foundation in essential topics in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and genetics. Focuses on normal organismal development and cancer. Includes significant independent reading of primary scientific literature and writing based on such reading. 2.0 Credits

**Introduction to Immunology **

This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to Medical Immunology. The basis for the course will be the recorded video of the medical immunology lectures delivered to the medical students, which will be accessed and viewed by the enrolled students during the weeks identified in the schedule. At the end of each week, a review and discussion period (3 hours) will be moderated by one or more faculty members familiar with the material covered by the lectures viewed during the week. 2.0 Credit

Clinical Correlations in Immunology

This course will serve as an advanced learning experience to correlate the basic aspects of immunology & immunopathology with the clinical aspects of diagnosis and treatment. The course will introduce concepts that relate to understanding how the clinical aspects of abnormal immune responses and immunodeficiencies can be translated into basic research. 3.0 Credit

Are there any Elective Courses in the MS program?

Yes, there are -

Vaccines and Vaccine Development

This course will provide information pertaining to the history of vaccines, the principles of vaccine design, the concepts of induction of the immune protection, and the choice of vaccine types. Emphasis will be given to current and future methods for vaccine design, and approved tests for safety and efficacy. The concepts of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines will be discussed. 3.0 Credits

Viruses and Viral Infections

Introduces fundamental concepts in molecular virology through presentation and discussion of viruses that cause disease in humans. Students learn about important aspects of virus infection, including virus structure, replication, molecular pathogenesis, antiviral immune responses, the development of antiviral drug therapies, and the use of viruses in gene therapy. Students also learn to read and critically evaluate virology-related papers published in the primary literature. 2.0 Credits

Bacteria and Bacterial Infections

Introduces fundamental concepts in bacteria and the infections they cause, including microorganism structure and replication, pathogenesis and treatment. 2.0 Credits

Mycology and Fungal Infections

Introduces basic aspects of the biology of fungi and fungal infections, such as fungal cell structure, function, replication, pathogenesis, and their impact on humans. Antifungal agents; mode of action and molecular mechanism of resistance are also discussed. 2.0 Credits

Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases

Introduces basic aspects of the biology of parasites and parasitic infections, including microorganism structure, replication and pathogenesis, as well as public health and economic impact of parasitic infections. Antiparasitic drug and vaccine development are also discussed. Primary literature is also read and discussed. 2.0 Credits

Mech. Of Micro. Path

An advanced graduate course involving presentation and in depth discussion of recent and historical literature on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis. Prerequisite: a previous bacterial pathogenesis or medical microbiology course. 3.0 Credits

Immunology II

This is an advanced course in immunology covering various aspects of contemporary cellular and molecular biology. It consists of some didactic sessions followed by reading and discussion of current literature. The prerequisites for this course are a graduate level course in immunology and permission of the instructor. 3.0 Credit

Molecular Mechanisms of Viral Pathogenesis

This is a review course dealing with recent advances in viral pathogenesis. Current literature will be examined in lecture and discussion format. 3.0 Credit

Emerging Infectious Diseases

In depth discussion of the emergence and spread of infectious agents, including species jumping, mutation and global transport. Learn about recently emerged pathogenic agents as well as possible future outbreaks or reemergence of viral, bacterial, parasitic and novel agents. 2.0 Credits

Biotechniques and Laboratory Research

Provides hands-on research experience in the broad field of molecular medicine. Student projects will focus on basic, translational, or clinical biomedical research. Host laboratories will be chosen on the basis of their research, as well as student interests and future career goals. While emphasis will be placed on laboratories within Drexel University, research may also be completed in laboratories at other academic institutions or at sites outside of Drexel University involved in molecular medicine research. 2.0-3.0 Credits

Advanced Molecular Virology

Provides a comprehensive overview of the molecular aspects of viral pathogenesis and viral-host interactions, using various viral families and selected viruses as models. Builds upon basic concepts introduced in MIIM 512S Molecular Pathogenesis I or MIIM 540S Viruses and Viral Infections. 3.0 Credits

Advanced Molecular Biology

Advanced level course (lecture and discussions) of topics of current interest in the area of molecular biology and molecular genetics. Topics vary in different years and may include aspects of both lower eukaryotic systems and mammalian systems. May be repeated once for credit. 3.0 Credit

Molecular Genetics

The focus of this course is to expose students to “cutting edge” molecular genetic concepts as they apply to laboratory animal science. The course provides a description of DNA structure, an overview of its replication and function in gene expression, an overview of the structure and function of nuclei & chromosomes, a sampling of tools used for genome analysis and a sampling of the basic techniques used in a molecular genetics laboratory. Various genome-sequencing projects are discussed along with the information they provide about the organization of a complex genome. 3.0 Credits

11 Recommended Universities for Immunology

Drexel University

Program: MS Immunology

The master of science degree in immunology will encompass two years of required and elective graduate courses and a comprehensive research internship package completed during the course of the two-year training program. The internship will encompass three specific areas of research -

  • Basic discovery of innate and adaptive immune response mechanisms
  • Translational research centered in therapeutic and preventive vaccine development or the development of immunomodulatory strategies
  • Clinical immunology research arena

The immunology graduate program will also include a one-semester experience in clinical and research grand rounds focused on clinical problems associated with inflammatory disease. Some students may opt to complete the program on a part-time basis, taking up to four years. In either sequence, no dissertation is required. Program directors and course faculty will work closely with each student to best achieve his or her specific goals.

University of Washington

Program: PhD Immunology

The UW Immunology Ph.D. program provides comprehensive, rigorous training in the discipline of immunology, emphasizing the connections between the immune system and other biological systems in health and disease.

The UW Immunology graduate program provides the opportunity to pursue an understanding of immune responses from the cellular, molecular and systems biology perspective, a key starting point for careers in academia, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical research programs.

UW Immunology faculty provide a high-quality educational experience for students through teaching and hands-on research. One-on-one faculty mentorship during a student’s time in the department is a key component to the success of our program. This foundation enables our students to make fundamental discoveries, and serves as a starting point for careers in academic and industrial research programs.

University of Toronto

Program 1: MS in Applied Immunology

The purpose of the MSc in the field of Applied Immunology is to provide advanced training in designing, implementing and evaluating Immunological techniques that measure immune responses.

To qualify for the degree, each candidate must complete specified course work and a Major Research Project.

The Major Research Project, which will be performed in a host laboratory, will comprise research that designs and validates a novel technical approach that will be summarized in a proposal document, a report document and an oral presentation.The duration of the MSc degree in Applied Immunology will be 6 sessions (F/W/S/F/W/S) or 24 months.

Program 2: MS in Fundamental Immunology

The purpose of the MSc in the field of Fundamental Immunology is to provide advanced training in an area of specialization, with a particular emphasis on the acquisition of experience in the strategies and experimental methods of modern, original, scientific research.

To qualify for the degree, each candidate must complete specified course work, submit a satisfactory thesis based on his/her research, and successfully defend it in a Departmental examination.

The MSc thesis should contain research demonstrating that the student has mastered the techniques in a specialized area of research and can design and carry out controlled, informative experiments in this area. The MSc thesis should not be required to contain a finished piece of research but should be a competent report of the student’s mastery of certain relevant techniques and their application to a specific problem. Within the thesis and its defence, the student should also demonstrate a command of the subject matter in his/her area of research and in related areas of Immunology. In our Department, the typical time to complete the MSc degree is between 2-3 years.

McGill University

Program: MS Microbiology & Immunology

The primary goal of this program is to provide students with unique opportunities to learn experimental designs and fundamental research techniques, and objectively synthesize information from scientific literature. These tools enable the students to focus on major research topics offered by the Department: molecular microbiology, mycology, microbial physiology, virology, genetics, immunology, drug design, and aspects of host-parasite relationships.

Each M.Sc. student chooses their preferred major research area and research supervisor.

Following an interview, the student is presented with a research topic and offered a studentship (amounts vary). Each student must register for the graduate courses (two seminars, two reading and conference courses, and three current topics). If pertinent to the student’s research program, the research adviser may advise the student to take additional courses.

Most of the students, after one year, are proficient researchers, and some first authors of a research publication. M.Sc. students may fast-track to the Ph.D. program after three terms of residency. The remaining students advance their microbiology background by opting to enter into medicine, epidemiology, biotechnology, or pharmaceutical disciplines

University of British Columbia

Program: MS Microbiology & Immunology

According to the University -

"Microbiology has been an integral part of UBC since the university’s inception in 1915. Our program is a strong and collaborative community of microbiologists, immunologists, biochemists and cell biologists, based at UBC and affiliated hospitals.

We promote fundamental and translational research and we enjoy strong connections to clinical colleagues across Canada. Many of our students are located in the Life Sciences Institute, a world-class collection of scientists with facilities including advanced flow cytometry, microscopy and imaging, together with the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research, the Advanced Structural Biology for Re-emerging Infectious Diseases group, and the Genome Sciences Centre.

We work closely with the Centres for Drug Research and Development and for High-Throughput Biology, emphasising commercialisation and entrepreneurship. We have 90 MSc and PhD students currently enrolled in our program and have an excellent track record in mentoring and training. We are proud of the many and diverse successes of our alumni."

University of Manitoba

Program: MS Immunology

The Department of Immunology offers a research-intensive program of graduate training leading to M.Sc. or Ph.D. degrees in Immunology, and provides the experience suitable for research careers in biomedical science in the context of industry, government or academic laboratories.

The Department has all the essential equipment and laboratory facilities for active research in programs in the following areas: isolation and characterization of antibodies and antigens; detection and function of cytokines; cell receptors and their functions; signal transduction; cell differentiation; development of monoclonal antibodies; structure and function of adhesion molecules; recombinant DNA methodology; flow cytometry and other fluorescence-based cell analyses; mass spectroscopy; confocal microscopy; regulation of the immune response in relation to allergy, transplantation, vaccination and cancer; discovery of novel immunoregulatory genes and compounds; development of immunodiagnostic procedures.

Western University

Program: M.Sc. Microbiology & Immunology

The Graduate Program of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology revolves around two major fields of scientific endeavor: i) The molecular and cellular biology of microorganisms, and ii) The molecular and cellular biology of the immune system. These fields involve studies on bacteria, virus, parasites, cancer cells, and immune cells with an emphasis on molecular biology, biochemistry, and pathogenesis.

The Department is primarily committed to the training of PhD students but also offers programs leading to a MSc degree. PhD and MSc degrees are offered through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and thus their calendar should be consulted for general and specific information pertaining to residency requirements, deadlines, thesis requirements, and other pertinent information.

University of Calgary

Program: M.Sc. Immunology

The graduate program in Immunology provides state-of-the-art training in immunological research. Students gain a foundation in the functions and interactions of all components of the immune system, including infections such as cryptococcus neoformans, pseudomonas aeruginosa, lyme disease and malaria, and diseases such as diabetes. Students participate in the Immunology Research Group (IRF).

This group reflects the diversity and interdisciplinarity of the field, connecting students in the program with members from science and clinical departments throughout the Cumming School of Medicine and other University of Calgary departments. The IRG’s core themes are development and physiology of cells of the immune system, and immunological mechanisms in disease and the inflammatory process.

University of Alberta

Program: M.Sc

We are a research-intensive department focusing on advanced studies in Bacteriology, Immunology, Virology, and the interface between these fields. MMI offers PhD and thesis-based MSc degrees.

Areas of specialization include Bacteriology, Immunology, Parasitology and Virology. Research focuses on cellular and molecular immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and the development of novel methods for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. The program requirements include coursework in the discipline, teaching experience, and the development of skills in research presentations.

University of Ottawa

Program: MS Immunology & Microbiology

The programs refine critical and scholarly skills in fields and areas of specialization and prepare students for a variety of careers in teaching and research both within and outside of academia, including in a governmental, clinical, or industrial setting. Graduates are expected to have acquired autonomy in conducting research, in preparing scholarly publications, through a training that includes course work, research seminars, and independent research leading to a thesis.

The Department is a participating unit in the following collaborative programs: the Bioinformatics program (at the master’s level) and the Pathology and Experimental Medicine program (at the master’s and doctoral levels).

University of Saskatchewan

Program: M.Sc. Microbiology & Immunology

The Department of Microbiology & Immunology offers graduate programs leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. The department has expertise necessary for the instruction and training of advanced students in areas that include cellular and molecular biology of eukaryotes, microbial genetics and molecular biology, immunology, medical microbiology, microbial physiology, and virology.

Key research areas include -

  • Molecular Genetics/Microbial Physiology: molecular regulation and secretion of virulence factors in pathogenic bacteria, genetic regulation of gluconeogenic enzymes, catalytic and regulatory mechanisms of microbial enzymes, chromosomal rearrangements, carcinogenesis, chemical mutagenesis, mutagenic mechanisms, DNA alkylation damage and repair in eukaryotes, and mechanism of replication nitiation.
  • Immunology/Virology: molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for self-nonself discrimination and immune class determination, cellular and molecular interactions involved in lymphocyte activation and differentiation, analysis of regulatory function of CD8 T cells.
  • Pathogenesis/Infectious Diseases: development of effective vaccination and immunotherapeutic strategies against intracellular pathogens causing chronic disease and against cancers, clinical bacteriology.
  • Tumor Biology/Immunology: tumor metastasis, molecular tumor immunology.
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